The author of this piece is very talented. It takes real talent to write a good short story.....I want to share this.
I'm putting this old story here, though it may somehow be unethical to move stories around here. I may even have posted it here sometime before, I don't remember. My memory is fading like that. Anyway, I like the story.
Khazi and Me
Kahzi and me developed empathy soon after all hell broke loose. The baseline seemed to be stabilized while the punks were still ravaging the city. Nothing could stop them, of course, so we kept our distance. Wandering around, we moved cautiously on the outskirts of the ruined industrial district until we came to what passed for farmland. Nothing remained intact anywhere, though. Even empty land seemed to have been worn out and scraped clean, except it wasn’t clean; it was contaminated by the toxins.
The air smelled chemical even away from the city. We tried to breathe as little as we could, but you have to breathe, right? So when we reached the hillsides and climbed a little the smell lessened and we felt better. Felt better in a relative way, of course. When we reached the top of the hill we looked back and all was still fire and smoke. We guessed the punks were still at it.
We were sort of punks ourselves, but not extreme. We just liked to trash. That’s different than demolish and obliterate. That was for the hardcore, the skinheads and fanatics. The crazies. We weren’t crazy, not yet anyway. It was keen, though, watching the lunatics having their way with everything . Destruction rattled something deep inside me. It was an off. Nothing to compare it to. A shriek.
So we decided to spend the night on that hill. When it got dark we watched the stars through the drifting haze. It was beautiful in its way. After a while we did what we do, and then there was a big explosion down in the city. We supposed all this was going on all over the planet, but we couldn’t be sure. There was no way to know, but we supposed anyway.
In the morning we decided to go back to the city and have a go'round. Everything looked crushed and bleak. There wasn’t much left of anything anywhere. All the jiggers would be asleep by now, we figured, so it would only be semi-dangerous. We could handle semi-danger. We were semi-dangerous ourselves. We’d proved that a few times.
The city was just debris when we got there, but it was a jive to see it all like this. There were some civilians roaming, too, but they stepped back out of our way and kept their distance. They all had this dazed look on their faces, like they couldn’t believe it. What did they expect? I felt kinda sorry for them, but it didn’t make much difference, as we were all going to end up the same in the end.
Hiking down something that used to be a street, we heard a rumble somewhere off in the distance. Probably the last building falling over. You’d think it would be a big job toppling buildings, but everything was rotted pretty much by then, so it was easier than you might expect. Most stuff just fell apart and crashed by theirselves. You had to be careful in the beginning not to be crushed by stuff just crumpling and smashing down. We had some close calls, ourselves. Empathy had saved us more than once.
Anyway, we found a busted water pipe and drank some, but we knew doing that would shorten our span of years, as Kahzi said it. We laughed at this. Our span was short enough anyway, so what did it matter?
After that, we just sat under some concrete slab that jutted out into nothing and looked at each other. We were pretty dozy, but we smiled anyway and put our arms around each other. The sky was turning grey with clouds, the sun was gone, and everything around us looked grey and grimy, including ourselves. I was feeling a little sick. We made a deal it would be best to go out together. We didn’t want one of us to go on alone. Alone would be too much to bear.
It was kinda peaceful sitting there in all that grey rubble, though. It was pretty quiet. The punks and smashers were probably sitting around themselves, admiring their work. They had finished what someone else had started, so they felt blameless. It’s a nice feeling when your work is all done.
As the day went on, sitting there in the dust and grime, we began to feel a part of it. Part of all the ruin, I mean. We were ruined, too, so what was the difference? Kahzi started to cough some and slouch, and my bones were beginning to feel dislocated from each other. That was a sign for me. We didn’t say too much to each other after that. Later I tried to make some kind of joke or another, but my voice turned into sandpaper before I could get it all out. Kahzi wouldn’t have laughed, anyway. It was about the end for him, too.
I wrote all this down for some reason here. I know it’ll just blow away in a filthy wind to join all the other ruins we all made of everything, but I wrote it anyway. At the end I wanted my last look to be at something nice, like it was, but I can’t see too good now, and besides there’s nothing nice to look at anymore.
It’s not so bad though, really. Maybe somewhere there’s kids like us smiling or something, still in a nice place where it’s pretty. I like to think so. They’re maybe in some way-off jungle where it’s all green and the sun is shining bright in a blue sky, and they’re still happy. I guess I’m happy, too, in a way, cuz it’s finally over. There’s nothing left to grieve for anyway.
The only thing I’ll really miss is how much I love Kahzi.
Source: Khazi and Me